I'm using Ubuntu 18.04 and have used GNOME Tweaks(1) to restore normal keyboard layout switching behavior where pressing Alt+Shift cycles between enabled layouts. I've also used Gnome Settings(2) in an attempt to restore normal windows switching where Alt+Tab brings up a list of windows and moves the selected window from the most recently-used window to the least, and Shift+Alt+Tab moves the cursor in the opposite direction.

Keyboard layout works well. Window switching does not: Alt+Tab behaves as expected but Shift+Alt+Tab does not because it changes the keyboard layout rather than traverse the window list.

How can I restore normal Shift+Alt+Tab functionality when using multiple layouts? I know it's possible because I've read a blog post on how to do it once, however I was unable to find said blog post again.

Edit: Found it! See: https://www.guyrutenberg.com/2015/10/02/gnome-altshift-and-altshifttab/

Edit2: I believe this is not a duplicate of OS keyboard shortcuts conflict with apps keyboard shortcuts in GNOME 3 because it's specific to Shift+Alt and that specificity seems to have allowed for an acceptable workaround. See my answer below.


  1. The setting is under Tweaks > Keyboard & Mouse > Additional Layout Options.
  2. Normal Keyboard Shortcut reassignment.
  • 3
    Alt+Shift is already assigned as a short cut. So when 3 keys are combined, it is catching up the short cut Alt+Shift or Shift+Alt..
    – PRATAP
    Feb 5, 2019 at 3:51
  • @PRATAP I agee, that's exactly what's happening. However, when the windows list appears (after you press Alt+Tab), pressing Shift with Tab again to reverse the direction of traversal without effecting layout should still be possible with GNOME 3. The issue is that I don't know how to achieve this. Feb 5, 2019 at 4:28
  • 1
    The underlying issue raised in this question is actually the same as the one raised in OS keyboard shortcuts conflict with apps keyboard shortcuts in GNOME 3 (that GNOME shortcuts are triggered on key-press rather than on-release, so keyboard layout is switched as soon as you 're done pressing <Shift>+<Alt> while you're in fact trying to press <Shift>+<Alt>+<Tab>). However the other question is kinda broader. Thanks a lot for digging deep to find a workaround for the specific issue in your question and sharing here.
    – pomsky
    Feb 5, 2019 at 8:23

2 Answers 2


There seems to be a workaround that allows you to keep using both shortcuts normally:

  • Alt+Tab and Shift+Alt+Tab both work.
  • Alt+Shift cycles between layouts normally.

The only caveat is that reversing window traversal with Shift+Alt+Tab will also change the layout once. This is an acceptable compromise in my case.

The way this is done is to:

  1. Open gnome tweaks tool
  2. Go to Keyboard & Mouse
  3. Click on "Additional Layout Options"
  4. Expand "Miscellaneous Compatibility Options"
  5. Check "Shift cancels Caps Lock"

I want to mimic PRATAP's helpful answer by posting the steps in pictures:

  1. step-1:
  2. step-2:
  3. step-3:
  • 3
    Welcome to Ask Ubuntu :) If this solves your problem please consider "accepting" the answer (by clicking the tick (✓) next to it) to indicate you've found a working solution and also so that others may more easily find it in the future. Since the answer is also posted by you, you'll be able to accept it after 2 days, not right now (you can accept an answer posted by someone else after a few minutes).
    – pomsky
    Feb 5, 2019 at 8:26
  • 1
    Thank you for the warm welcome. I plan to accept whichever answer gets the most votes after a few days since I'm not sure this solution will be acceptable for everyone. Also, thank you for fixing up my posts. Feb 6, 2019 at 4:54

as a workaround,
Left Alt+Left Shift for "Switching to another Layout"

now, pressing Left Alt+ Right Shift+ TAB solved it.

enter image description here

enter image description here

  • 1
    Thank you so much for trying to help. I really appreciated it. However, I managed to find the webpage that I mentioned in my op, and it presents a workaround that that allows using the same Shift and Alt keys for both window navigation and layout cycling. See my answer askubuntu.com/a/1115722/921352 Feb 5, 2019 at 4:54

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